More meth-mouth misinformation.

Media criticism.
May 12 2006 6:09 PM

More Meth-Mouth Misinformation

It's everywhere, it's everywhere!

(Continued from Page 1)

And now on to the popular press dishonor roll:

Chronic meth smokers have teeth rotted to the gum line from the continuous effect of the vapors on tooth enamel. The condition is referred to as "meth mouth."

Even snorting meth causes chemical damage to teeth. Toxic substances drain through the nasal passages and into the mouth, "bathing" the teeth.
Craig (Colo.) Daily Press, Dec. 7, 2005

"I know that meth and crack eat away calcium and make (the teeth) weaker," [Frank, a pseudonym] said. "Sometimes I brushed, but it don't help. The more drugs you do, the worse it gets."
Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph Herald, Feb. 20, 2006

It also causes "meth mouth," where the user's teeth rot out because chemicals in meth eat tooth enamel.
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, March 30, 2006

Meth addicts develop rotten teeth in a condition known as "meth mouth" because meth robs the body of calcium, decreases saliva production and changes the pH of the mouth.
Holmen (Wis.) Courier, April 14, 2006

Methamphetamine is concocted in home laboratories and can contain lye, battery acid, ether or other corrosive agents. These destroy tooth enamel and burn the gum tissue, which becomes infected.
Arizona Republic, April 22, 2006

"Meth mouth" is a condition common in habitual meth users that results in rotting and deteriorating teeth and gums due to chemical ingredients in meth.
Maryville, Tenn. Daily Times, April 25, 2006

In this KHQA Safe Family Health report, KHQA tells you how dentists are dealing with the "Meth Mouth" epidemic.

Bleach, cold tablets, Drano, anhydrous ammonia. It's no wonder someone ingesting these materials would end up with their teeth rotting away.

"Most everything in meth is a corrosive material and they consume enormous amounts of carbonated beverages and they're on highs for so long, they don't brush their teeth or take care of them so the combination is there just to eat up everything," Dr. Bill Esicar said.
KHQA-7 Online (The tri-cities of Keokuk, Iowa; Hannibal, Mo.; and Quincy, Ill.), May 8, 2006


My advice: Don't do meth. Don't believe everything you read about illicit drugs in newspapers or hear over the airwaves. And if your dentist or local police officer likes to talk to the press about meth mouth, tell them to keep up on the medical literature.


Dan Wilson of the Appleton (Wis.) Post-Crescent deserves honor-roll treatment for this well-reported, skeptical April 30 story about the "methidemic." I read my e-mail at (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Jack Shafer was Slate's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at



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